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Tirumala temple properties: Several BJP leaders go on hunger strike to protest decision to sell assets

In New Delhi, Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao and Sunil Deodhar, the party’s national secretary co-in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, sat on hunger strike, alleging that the YSR Congress Party was trying to hive off temple assets that it doesn’t own.

Updated: May 26, 2020 13:54 IST

By Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Hindustan Times New Delhi

A view of Venkateswara Temple on Tirumala hills in Tirupati. TTD is the administrative body for the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala, and the properties the state government intended to auction included land in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand. (PTI)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members joined a day’s hunger strike on Tuesday to protest the Andhra Pradesh government’s scrapped order to auction land donated to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD).

In New Delhi, Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao and Sunil Deodhar, the party’s national secretary co-in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, sat on hunger strike, alleging that the YSR Congress Party was trying to hive off temple assets that it doesn’t own.

“The state government is not the owner, but the patron of these assets. They have no right to sell these properties off,” Deodhar said.

The BJP leader said his party did not call off the protest even after the Andhra Pradesh government put in abeyance its decision to auction the assets and asked TTD to re-examine the decision, because it does not trust the government.



“We want the government to bring an ordinance that all assets of maths and mandirs (temples) under the state government will not be auctioned, and the details of the properties, land, money and other assets will be made public,” Deodhar said.

TTD is the administrative body for the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala, and the properties the state government intended to auction included land in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The BJP is not the only party protesting against the sale of the assets - the Janasena Party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Congress party and CPI-M too opposed the state government’s decision to auction properties to raise funds for the temple.

Deodhar said the government must probe allegations made by a YSRCP MP that a lot of money is being pushed into the state for religious conversion.

Another BJP MP, Rakesh Sinha, wrote to TTD chairman Subbarao Reddy that that sale of 63 properties belonging to TTD Devasthanams on the ground that these are small pieces of land and unmanageable is “untenable”.

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